First U.S. Tar Sands Mine Stirs Water, Environmental Fears Out West

"A Canadian company opens a test pit in Utah. But is there enough water to support the industry?"

"MOAB, UTAH -- To the ancient Indians who roamed the Colorado Plateau in what is now eastern Utah, the black globs of sticky, smelly bitumen they picked up from the sandy soil mystified them so much they called the strange substance 'rocks that burn.'

Today, the bitumen that fascinated the Indians for its mysterious quality of combustion is the focal point of a battle over whether bitumen -- a thick, tarry substance also known as tar sands oil -- should be mined in Utah, which harbors the nation's largest oil sands deposits.

According to the Utah Geological Survey, about 25 billion barrels of bitumen are buried on state and federal land. If every drop of that oil was extracted, it would supply all the nation's current oil needs for a little more than three years."

David Hasemyer reports for InsideClimate News August 16, 2012.

Source: InsideClimate News, 08/16/2012